This article presents a framework for analysing party-organisational culture, with a special focus on the elite level. The framework is based on an interpretation of Mary Douglas’ Grid/Group model, and is empirically supported by an extensive study of the seven party groups in the Swedish parliament. The model identifies two fundamental cultural dimensions: the level of submission by individual group members to the group as a collectivity; and the principle that dictates the distribution of status and prestige within the party (a distribution here correlating with views on knowledge). The study shows that the parties distribute themselves on the cultural map in ways that do not coincide in any straightforward way with other well-known variables of party politics, such as ideology, origin or size. The methodological innovations presented in this article pave the way for a new framework for analysing party politics in which hitherto neglected aspects of party organisation are highlighted.